What’s in an ending?
An ending is a final word… a final thought left to consider. But do we have the right to choose our end?
Or do we all face the same end regardless of choice? And is our desire for a meaningful ending rewriting our past?
These are some of the questions director Ritesh Batra decided to tackle by adapting literary and award-winning novel The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes. But can a literary bestseller transfer successfully from the page to the screen?
What They Will Do:
The creative team behind the film The Sense of an Ending will not allow the movie to stray too far from the spirit of the novel.
The book The Sense of an Ending rose to fame and popularity because the author dares to consider the truth of his past in order to inform his present–not what happened or what should have happened, but the truth according to Anthony.
The author accomplishes this complexity between past and present by reflecting on the past in the first chapter and switching to present tense in the second. I suspect that the creative team for the film will seek to weave a similar thread between past and present and future without resorting to canned narration.
What They Won’t Do:
Sorry, Downton Abbey fans.
But the creators of this film are not going to give Michelle Dockery a larger part in the story simply because of her fair complexion, excellent accent, and fabulous eyebrows. Yes, the role of Tony’s daughter remains essential to the story. However, she is not a lead despite the fact that she has received some great billing.
What They Should Do:
I hope and pray that the creative team captures the unique tone of the novel.
Barnes writes with a finesse that makes you laugh, question the meaning of life, and turn up your nose at his utter shamelessness. Simultaneously. There is a subtle and obvious symbolism and the audience feels as if they are consuming the truth until they realize that the “truth” is only the lens presented by the main character.
This might require some unflinching camera work that focuses on the point of view of the main character and gradually shifts styles as the audience continues to watch.
In any case, the film needs to feel like nothing you have ever watched before.
What They Should UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES DO:
The Sense of an Ending–without revealing too much–addresses why a person would choose death.
And Barnes does not draw back when presenting the topic of death or sweep characters under a proverbial rug after they have died. He encourages readers to face the situation as merely another ending.
Thus, the film should not hold back. It needs to remain steady and focused no matter how hard it is to face the consequences of human choice.
It’s the only way we’ll make sense of the ending.
Wish List Item:
Veronica and Anthony evaluate their new dating relationship by comparing bookshelves and record collections. This moment might be a bit tedious to convert into film, but the premise of understanding a person is certainly fascinating!
Chances of this happening:
I give it a solid 45 secondhand books out of 100.
The Sense of an Ending is rated PG-13 and will begin showing in theaters on March 10, 2017.
All media belongs to CBS Films, Lionsgate Films, Studio Canal UK.